By David Morgan, Associate Editor
The first piece of the puzzle that is the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule was unveiled on Wednesday when Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced that Nashville Superspeedway has earned a spot on next year’s schedule.
The 1.33-mile concrete track, located on the outskirts of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee, is no stranger to hosting NASCAR events with both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Series running there from 2001 to 2011 before the track was shuttered.
A handful of current Cup Series stars have raced and won at the track, including Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon.
In recent months, talks of bringing NASCAR back to Nashville, more specifically the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, have picked up steam, but when the Cup Series banquet was held in the city late last year, talks of reviving Nashville Superspeedway ramped up and led to Wednesday’s announcement.
“We were energized to see how excited Nashville was to host the NASCAR Cup Series banquet last December,” said Denis McGlynn, president & CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “When we built Nashville Superspeedway in 2001 our goal was to one day secure a NASCAR Cup Series race for the venue. Nashville, central Tennessee and the surrounding market area is filled with passionate race fans. We are thrilled that we were able to collaborate with NASCAR and our television partners to get this done and we can’t wait to put on a great show there in 2021.
“While we have been in discussions with NASCAR for some time about the possibility of bringing the NASCAR Cup Series back to Nashville Superspeedway, plans really just became solidified in recent weeks. We will have many more announcements and exciting updates to share regarding plans for the facility shortly.”
As a result of Nashville earning a Cup Series date in 2021, it will come at the expense of Dover International Speedway, which will have just one race weekend next year instead of the two it has had at its disposal in years past.
According to a report from The Tennesseean, Nashville is looking at a tentative date of June 20, 2021 for its return to action.
“Thanks to the collaboration of Dover Motorsports and our broadcast partners, we are excited to bring NASCAR racing back to Nashville, a place where the passion for our sport runs deep,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “The Nashville market is a vital one for our sport, and bringing NASCAR Cup Series racing to Nashville Superspeedway will be an integral building block in helping us further deliver on our promise in creating a dynamic schedule for 2021.”
How the news of Nashville Superspeedway earning a date will affect the bid by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. to bring a race to the Fairgrounds is unknown, but SMI President Marcus Smith noted in a statement that the company is still going ahead with their plans.
“The news that NASCAR will bring a Cup race to Wilson County and the greater Nashville region in 2021 is a positive move for the sport of NASCAR and for NASCAR fans,” said Smith. “In recent years, we’ve made it very clear that we think Nashville is a place where NASCAR should be for the future and not just the past. Our efforts to work with state and local government officials to revive the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway will continue. We believe that the beloved short track in downtown Nashville provides tremendous opportunity to be a catalyst for year-round tourism and entertainment development.”